By Bree-Anna Finlay
Over the last 10 years the kangaroo population of Western Australia has dropped by a third, from around 2.5 million to 1.8 million.
The Darling Range Wildlife Shelter is a completely volunteer-run and not-for-profit organisation which tries to rehabilitate kangaroos and other native wildlife in WA.
The shelter is supported by more than 100 volunteers who put in more than 40 thousand unpaid hours each year – as well as a small team of helpers who who also do after hour care in their own homes.
Leah Bayfield has been volunteering at the shelter for five years and is also a home carer.
“We have joeys from all over WA, some get flown down in pouches from mine-sites up north.”
“For those animals that require special care or feeding throughout the night, we take them home, usually in pairs so they don’t become too attached to us,” she said.
These volunteers not only bring the animals into their homes, but support them financially.
Lucie Gillies moved to Australia from the west coast of France five years ago and has been with the DRWS for just over two years.
“I came to see kangaroos and I definitely found them,” she said.
“Being a not-for-profit organisation we are always looking for new volunteers and their level of involvement can vary.”
When the animals are healthy and large enough, a group of volunteers will travel up north with up to 20 animals to release them back into their natural habitat.
“The success rate of a joey in the wild is only one in eight, which is why it is so important for shelters like ours to stay afloat,” Miss Bayfield said.
The shelter relies heavily on financial donations as well as contributions of goods and services from the community.
The facility in Martin, between Kelmscott and Gosnells, functions through a solar power system that supplies all power needs and a grey water reuse system.
DRWS is a member of the Conservation Council of Western Australia.
You can meet some of the shelter’s special guests here.